Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Queensland Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Awards

Today the Queensland Minister for Communities, Karen Struthers, handed out the Queensland Domestic and Family Violence Awards. I was privileged to attend, as a friend of mine, Sister Carolyn Steiner, was a recipient.

Way back in 1992, Sister Carolyn started a domestic violence court support program at Beenleigh Courthouse. She has pointed out to me, and no doubt will again, that the program started in 1993. I count it starting from 1992, because that is when she came to the courthouse and started assisting women who had been subject to domestic violence. Sister Carolyn received the best individual category.

Sister Carolyn had many hurdles to jump, but quickly obtained acceptance and appreciation from the local magistrates, prosecutors and lawyers for the extraordinary difference she made for women and children at one of the busiest domestic violence courts in the State.

It is at this point that I apologise for not writing down notes, in the expectation that the usually efficient media releases from the Queensland Government would have winged their way to my computer. Alas, it is not so, and I am unable to reveal everyone who won an award.

The ceremony was chaired by graceful Channel 7 newsreader Kay McGrath, who showed a keen passion about child abuse and domestic violence issues.

During the ceremony, I felt particularly proud as a partner and as a director of Australia's CEO Challenge of the efforts of it and its partners:

  • another director of Australia's CEO Challenge, Donna Justo, received an award on behalf of the Gold Coast DV service because of efforts they were making to link with young men, including a CD by young men from the coast opposing violence to women
  • a partner of Australia's CEO Challenge, the Brisbane City Council CEO Jude Munro, received an award for her role in having anti-domestic violence posters put on Brisbane buses, as part of efforts with CEO Challenge to raise the profile of domestic violence issues
  • another partner of CEO Challenge, GHD, a large engineering and professional services firm, received an award in the Business category at it has partnered with CEO Challenge to help several refuges, and is looking to partner more.

Other winners included:

  • a police effort in the outback town of St George which involved follow up with people affected by domestic violence, but after the incident, which resulted in a 40% drop in the rate of domestic violence there
  • a community effort on Cape York to ensure men and boys have positive role models, including sports stars, rather than being trapped in the cycle of abuse and despair
  • a community effort from Emerald in central Queensland to have locals paint art on clothing anti-violence messages, which resulted in 4000 locals visiting the exhibition at the local library (huge numbers for a town of that size).

Kay McGrath summed it up well when she talked of the inspiration of these unsung heroes working hard and changing people's lives for the better.

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